The popular rapper Mac Miller had just released a new album Swimming and was one month away from starting a scheduled tour when police found him dead in his Los Angeles home Friday. The official cause of death will not be determined until after an autopsy is performed, authorities say, but it has been widely reported as a drug overdose. Miller was 26.
Born Malcolm James McCormick in Pittsburgh to a Christian father and Jewish mother, the hip-hop artist started recording music in his early teens and took the name, Mac Miller. “I’m raised Jewish; I had a bar mitzvah … I celebrate the High Holidays. That’s like my family … like how I was raised,” Miller said in a 2011 interview.
Miller shot to fame when his 2011 debut album Blue Slide Park debuted at the top of the Billboard music charts. He followed it up with four more albums, broadening his musical range and garnering a string of hits. Miller was one of the leaders of “The Golden Age of Jewish Rap,” according to a 2011 article in Tablet, one of many on the rapper that appeared in the magazine.
Throughout his career, Miller spoke openly in his music and interviews about using and struggling with drugs. In May of 2018, he was arrested on a DUI charge after crashing his car. But shortly after, in August 2018, he told a Rolling Stone interviewer: “Have I done drugs? Yeah. But am I a drug addict? No.”
Miller’s family released a statement Friday:
“Malcolm McCormick, known and adored by fans as Mac Miller, has tragically passed away at the age of 26. He was a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans. Thank you for your prayers. Please respect our privacy. There are no further details as to the cause of his death at this time.”